The Patna High Court has asked the Bihar Chief Secretary to file by August 13 a detailed report on the status of the distribution of grains after the mid-day meal scheme was discontinued due to schools being shut as per lockdown protocols. The order came on July 24 after Bihar Advocate General Lalit Kishore had earlier requested an adjournment.
The High Court on July 7 had taken suo motu cognizance of a report in The Indian Express, which had highlighted that children in Bhagalpur district had taken to rag picking after the discontinuance of the mid-day meal scheme as schools were closed due to the lockdown.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar, on the basis of the July 6 news report titled “School shut, no mid-day meal, children in Bihar village back to work selling scrap”, said, “The news article highlights an issue of public importance and relevance… Adequate nutrition is essential for school children’s health and well being. Children are kept away from schools and Anganwadi centres to restrict the spread of Covid-19.”
The court directed the government to submit a detailed reply within two weeks.
On July 14, the court asked the state government to submit a detailed compliance report regarding the distribution of grains among children. After a director-level official submitted the compliance report, the court said, “Considering the importance of the issue, we are of the view and direct that let a comprehensive affidavit be filed by the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar.”
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